Department of Telecommunications secretary Aruna Sundararajan acknowledged that it was a stressful time for the industry but also noted that the phase will pass once tariffs stabilise. In an interview with The Financial Express, Sundararajan added that long-term measures will be introduced through the new telecom policy which is being drafted.
Sundararajan said the inter-ministerial group (IMG), tasked with finding solutions to help the sector, has found that the industry is facing “interim liquidity stress”. “The panel observed two things, one, that this is only interim and not a long-term, permanent phenomenon. Second, although there was a dip or erosion in revenues, an upward trend was visible. The panel’s recommendations of extending the tenure of deferred spectrum payment was based on these two observations. So we will have to continue to watch the situation,” she was quoted as saying by The Financial Express.
“The new telecom policy which is being formulated in consultation with stakeholders and we might consider reducing licence fee and spectrum charges during the auction process,” Soundararajan added.
When asked if the reserve price of spectrum would be kept reasonable as suggested by the inter-ministerial group, the DoT secretary said, “The prices have gone up because of the competition between the telecom operators. Trai (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) is doing a consultation on spectrum auction and discussions on NTP (new telecom policy) are going on with all the stakeholders. There are several issues at play here so we will wait for their recommendations before taking a call.
(With inputs from The Financial Express)